JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — Parental rights group Moms for Liberty has asked Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) to change a survey that asks students personal questions about sex. The district’s Youth Behavior Risk Survey is conducted every two years and is set to be distributed among students in Jacksonville over the next two months.
The optional survey, produced by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), covers a variety of topics, including diet, physical activity, violence, sexual behavior, STDs, pregnancy and the use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Five other Florida school districts – Broward, Hillsborough, Pasco, Orange and Palm Beach – participate in the survey and contribute to the CDC’s national report.
Students are asked about how many people they have had sex with, whether they have had oral sex, and whether they have sex with females or males. Their responses are anonymous. Additional questions include:
- “During the past 12 months, how many times did anyone force you to do sexual things that you did not want to do?”
- “Have you ever been physically forced to have sexual intercourse when you did not want to?”
- “How old were you when you had sexual intercourse for the first time?”
“These questions are unacceptable. They not only violate parental rights and the students’ rights to privacy, they could trigger post-traumatic stress in a student who is suicidal or has been sexually assaulted,” Moms for Liberty – Duval Chair Rebecca Nathanson said in a statement. “Imagine if you were an adolescent taking this survey.”
Moms for Liberty argues that the survey violates the Federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) because it assumes parental consent by offering an opt-out option, rather than requiring parental consent via an opt-in request.
WANTS QUESTIONS REMOVED
In addition to requesting the district begin operating through an opt-in form, the group wants parents to receive the survey in its entirety prior to giving it to students. The group also asked the district to remove questions related to sexual orientation, sexual activity and gender identity.
“Many of us find these questions to be completely inappropriate, and only serve to advance an ideology while showing complete disregard for parents and their vulnerable children,” Nathanson added. “Those asking for this information have no concern for the individuals providing the answers. Guidance Counseling is not alerted to support them. It’s shocking and unacceptable that our schools put our children in such a position while they are at school.”
Duval County Public Schools did not return a request for comment.